Are you holding your team back? Why task-oriented leaders should build their relationship skills to accomplish goals

by Rand O’Leary

Task oriented leaders, those using just workplans, measurements, goals, dashboards, etc.…  sometimes may be left scratching their heads when their teams do not accomplish their goals, or performance begins to decline without any clear reason as to why.

To motivate your teams, and accomplish your goals, perhaps you would be better served to examine your leadership relationship competencies. 

What is a Relationship Leading?

Primarily a behavioral approach to leadership:

  • Focused on the general well-being of team members.

  • Works to build camaraderie within the team (share the work, successes and failures).

  • Working together as a team vs. individual accomplishment (leave titles at the door).

  • Committed to a common purpose.

  • Understand each other and the contributions we each make.

  • Focus on the people, the mission and the community needs.

What is task-oriented Leading?

Emphasis by the Leader is on work facilitation, Leadership:

  • Focuses on structure, roles and tasks.

  • Results are the priority.

  • Emphasis on goal setting.

  • Clear plans to achieve goals.

  • Strict use of plans (step-by-step).

  • Consequences, punishment/incentives to achieve goals.

When determining what leadership style works best for your team, consider the make-up of the team, today’s workforce is motivated much more by team achievement but still values individual recognition.  Workers today want to achieve the goal, but want much more flexibility than past generations when it comes to how to achieve that goal.  The relationship leader provides the space and the opportunity for all team members to weigh in, most people understand that they will not always get their way, but you must create the environment for people to be heard and express themselves or risk losing the engagement of your team.

So, what is the best style for today’s challenges? The answer may be there is no one perfect style, and as the leader you will sometimes need a blended style, one that leads from the front when necessary, setting goals, defining deadlines etc. or conversely you may also occasionally need to lead from the rear, building the team, working to build camaraderie and team spirit, cheering the team on as they complete their goals.

Next Steps:

Work with a professional to help you as a leader understand and identify the makeup and composition of the individuals on your team, individuals who are skilled in Organizational Development have many tools at their disposal, including leadership profiling surveys that can assist you in this work. 

Once you as the leader have this information, focus in these areas as you build your team development plan:

  • Identify team needs to accomplish goals.

  • Develop a workplan to strengthen and develop individuals and the team.

  • Consider how you will leverage those strengths for goal completion.

  • Plan to match talents to organizational needs.